I would like to introduce Alana Stoyas, Owner and Designer from Flight of Fancy, LLC, located in Aldie, Va. Alana and I are neighbors. We first met, 3 years ago, picking up our little girls from an after school club in our neighborhood. I overheard her talking about her Mary Kay business and I was in need of some fresh, new make-up. I scheduled a makeover with her and then invited her to set up and sell her Mary Kay products at a vendor event that my friend and I were hosting.
A few months later, we collaborated on some projects. Alana was looking for someone to do sewing work for her other business. I ended up working on a seat cushion and many, many glamour gardening gloves that she went on to sell at a retail shop in Leesburg, VA.
As she describes it, Flight of Fancy is a furniture restoration and home décor boutique that offers all services of interior design. Clients can receive consultation services for painted furniture, room redesigns to work with newly refurbished pieces, and interior color consultations. Flight of Fancy also offers assistance with new builds’ finishing selections. They are able to purchase interior pieces for clients, including light fixtures (which I myself am obsessed with) at discounted prices.
The evolution of Flight of Fancy goes back to when Alana was promoted to the Assistance Athletic Director at Madison H.S. in Vienna, VA. Among her duties in her knew role was to manage the activities and events sponsored by the school, as well as renting out the school’s spaces for outside special events. Realizing that she enjoyed this aspect of her job, she naturally flowed into an event planning business of her own. She found designing venues and planning the details of the events satisfied the creative side of her personality. Alana continued working full time at the school and ran her successful event planning business, planning 50+ weddings, for four years until she had her first child in 2009. She truly loved event planning, so when she walked away from it, she always thought that she would go back. But as many of us do, Alana ultimately gave up that career for the sake of her growing family.
In her life before the launch of Flight of Fancy, Alana found herself itching to be creative. She described battling depression due to the drought of creativity in her life. She was an entrepreneur at heart and was realizing a real desperation to do something to satisfy her mind. She had had her second child and was beginning to think she might just be too old to start a new business.
The chalk paint craze was in its infancy. Alana began painting for friends and noticed that she had a real talent for it. She has a self-described “knack” for being able to see the outcome of a project before she even begins. She’ll keep working a project until that exact image is achieved. (Isn’t that how Michelangelo worked? He could see the figure in the marble before the first strike of the chisel and hammer.) In 2013, one year after her 2nd child was born, Flight of Fancy was given its wings.
I asked Alana who inspires her or how she gets inspired. Alana belongs to several trade groups, namely Flipping Furniture for Profit University and Flipping Furniture for Profit Mastermind, and says that she’s inspired by the members of these groups, who are fellow furniture artists and designers. Through these groups, she has access to new painting techniques and videos that provide a continuing education for her and her craft.
Her professional idol is a designer named Kari Caldwell; a master of faux finishing, painter, decorator, designer and artist. Other means of inspiration include Pinterest and magazines, of course, but also her life! Her handcrafted products are often born of asking, “What would I like to have that I can’t find?” Examples are photo displays with clips so pictures can be easily changed. Her test-tube vases were inspired by her daughter who loves to give her mommy dandelions from outside (‘cause a standard vase just won’t properly display the tiny, delicate blossom). She’s inspired by her kids, by her clients, by colors, and by our beautiful world.
In the short term, Alana is working to have a better work life balance. To achieve this, she is working to put certain time management principles in place. For example, Monday’s are” No Work Day”. She uses this day to catch up; to get administrative tasks complete, to research new or better ways to manage her workload, and to simply get inspired. Her goal is to slow down a bit and take on projects that truly challenge and inspire her to be a better designer and better painter.
Her long-term goal she has had for a while. She is waiting for her youngest to be in school full time before going all in. This dream includes a working in-home studio and boutique. Here she would be able paint, teach classes, and also sell her finished pieces.
I asked her how the reality of Flight of Fancy is different from what she had dreamed it would be. Without hesitation, she said, “ It’s better than I could have imagined.” She very humbly said that she owes her success to every person who has come into her life since the business started; those that have supported her, “shared” her, stood by her, and built her up. A true testament that she is on the right path is her love of her clients who she describes as, “absolutely amazing”. Most become return clients and she has come to cherish them as friends.
Asked what she was most proud of professionally and the answer had to be her feature in the “Living Spaces, Inspired Interiors” article in the May issue of **Front Porch Living magazine (ironically photographed by another friend of mine!). Alana said that although the project was labor intensive, required some redesign, and had its frustrating moments, it was ultimately very rewarding. She is equally proud of her Pop-up boutique that she hosts in her home throughout the year. She loves seeing all of the shoppers and how much fun they have. This type of event also allows for her to mix her new career with her previous love, event planning.
Personally, Alana says she is most proud of her children. She says, almost as a question, “I think I’m doing a good job at being a mom.” She says she is so proud watching them grow and seeing how kind they are, and is often rewarded when her daughter says, “I want to be just like you mommy. When are we going to have our store?”
What Alana Stoyas, Owner and Designer of Flight of Fancy, LLC. would like for you to take away from this article is that her passion lies with this business. She will continue to educate herself and challenge herself as a creative designer in order to bring clients the best choices and quality for furniture design and interior design services. She looks forward to continuing to serve new and returning clients and added, “I wouldn’t be here without them.”
*Photos by Andrea Meyers Photography.
**Front Porch Living Magazine is a publication specifically for residents of the Willowsford community in Ashburn, VA.
***Photo by Alimond Photography.